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Finance

Japan's Line lets Thai users bank via chat app

Joint venture with Kasikornbank offers easy access to accounts and loans

Line's new banking service is available through its chat app, which has more than 47 million users in Thailand. (Photo from Line's website)

BANGKOK -- Japan's Line announced on Monday the launch of a "social banking" platform in Thailand that lets users access financial services through the company's popular chat app.

The Line BK service, offered in partnership with Thailand's Kasikornbank, lets users open accounts, transfer money and apply for personal loans. It is operated by Kasikorn Line, a Thailand-based joint venture between subsidiaries of the two companies.

This marks Line's first foray into financial services. It plans to bring Line BK to other markets including Japan, Taiwan and Indonesia.

Line hopes to win over the digital generation by making bank transfers just as easy as sending an online message. It will also offer savings accounts with an annual interest rate of up to 1.5%.

The company has over 47 million users in Thailand. It will extend loans even to users who have trouble securing conventional financing, like small business owners or those without stable incomes.

"We want to become one of Thailand's top five players in retail financial services within the next five years," said Kasikorn Line CEO Tana Pothikamjorn.

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